For me, lack of sleep is the hardest part of being a parent. I can take literally anything else, but not sleeping is really hard to deal with.
I’ve had more days in the last few years than I care to remember where I have sobbed with the sheer exhaustion. Not sleeping makes everything worse. You start fights with your partner. You can’t think straight. There is a reason why sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture. Because it is!
I’ve always tried to be really honest when it comes to parenting. Showing that you are struggling helps others to feel less alone. I recently shared a photo of our youngest daughter on my social media (she is now almost two). The post was about a bad night we’d had and how tired I was. Like clockwork there were the usual comments telling me to "treasure every moment", "it goes by so quickly" and "you’ll miss this when they are older".
Don’t get me wrong… I know all these people meant well and I’m sure at some point I’ve said the same thing to another sleep-deprived parent. But honestly, I’m so sick of people telling me that it will get better. I just want someone to acknowledge how hard it is right now in this moment. Of course, I know it will get better. But that doesn’t help for how shattered I am right now.
I won’t miss it. I will miss their smallness and I will miss them needing me so much. But I can hand on my heart say that I won’t miss that sick feeling of being woken for the 20th time in a night.
I will never look back and think fondly of those foggy days of not functioning on zero sleep.
There is so much judgement when it comes to our children’s sleep. If you co-sleep, you’ll be judged. If you sleep train, you’ll be judged. I believe that you just have to do what’s right for your family. We did a combination of both, and none of it has been easy.
No matter how you choose to raise your children, you are not a bad parent. No one should ever make you feel that way. If you are even questioning whether or not you are a bad parent, that fact alone means you are not.
Whether you breastfeed to sleep and bed share, or if you hire a sleep consultant and have a strict schedule. There is no right or wrong way to do this. It’s all hard. It’s all challenging. Sometimes they will sleep and other times you will be a permanent member of the #nosleepclub.
If you’ve had a bad night last night, I hear you and I see your sleep deprivation. I’m sending virtual hugs and copious amounts of coffee.